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The Interview: Amway CMO Candace Matthews

In 2007 Amway was a global, $6 billion company nearing 50 years in business. Known as a leader in multilevel direct selling, the company had nearly 3 million distributors in about 100 countries. From the outside, the company would certainly appear to have been doing plenty right.

Yet, as it prepared for the 50 anniversary, Amway undertook a massive transformation program, one designed to make the company more consumer-focused and performance-driven.

Enter Candace Matthews, as the company’s new CMO. Matthews brought marketing credentials from such major CPG brands as L’Oreal, Coke, P&G, and General Mills. As Matthews set out to bring marketing to a distribution-centric company–seeking the balance between the company’s strengths and new disciplines–consumers were busy redefining direct selling through digital. Amway’s transition and the rise of digital became closely connected; Matthews discovered that Amway’s core strength–its deep engagement with its distributors–matched the emerging ethos of digital marketing.

“My job was not to transform us into a CPG company, but to bring the discipline of CPG to our business model,” Matthews said. “It was two steps forward, one step back. Bring people along and make sure they understand it before you go to the next step.”

Read the full interview here.